Pakistan captain Babar Azam has spoken on the criticism he at times receives about his strike rate in T20 cricket. While the right-hander has been a prolific run-scorer, his strike rate of 130.64 in T20Is and 128.85 in T20s is questionable, especially when he has decided to open for both Pakistan and in PSL for Karachi.
Further, he and his opening partner in T20Is, Mohammad Rizwan, are power-hitter we are used to seeing at the top in the shortest version of the game.
Babar Azam, however, believes that he and Rizwan complement each other very well at the top, and that is the best bet for Pakistan in T20Is. He wants to build momentum into his game but remains cautious about not getting his team in trouble by batting slowly.
“I believe if you have the momentum, you need to capitalise on it. If we [Babar and Rizwan] started well, it’s not in my nature to think I should hold myself back or that I must bat deep at the expense of strike rate. However, if one of us is striking the ball well, we try to bat for as long as possible without changing our game,” Babar Azam was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
He highlighted that their game plan is to bat with intent, but at the same time ensure that both of them don’t get out in a short span of time.
“Keep our strike rate up, remain positive, but also try and hang around to take advantage of your form. You can’t worry about whether the guys below will deliver. The mindset remains the same. We plan to ensure one of us remains at the crease for much of the innings.”
Whenever a new management comes in, it takes time to adjust: Babar Azam
Pakistan cricket recently underwent a massive change in the coaching department with head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis stepping down ahead of the T20 World Cup.
Pakistan have suffered a dip in Misbah’s coaching in T20I cricket after attaining highs under Mickey Arthur: in three years under Arthur, Pakistan won 30 of 37 T20Is. However, under Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan won just 16 of 34.
Babar Azam reckons the team couldn’t gel properly under the new management and hence weren’t able to keep up with the consistency and dominance which led them to the top of the ICC rankings.
“Whenever a new management comes in, it takes time to adjust. You don’t just get used to it in a day. It takes time. Even for a team to gel, it takes time. If you select a team, you’re not just going to start getting results in the second or third game. You need time, but our goal is to acclimatise as quickly as possible.
“Two years ago was a different time compared to today. Things change. At the time we had different management, different coaches. The mindset is different. But then, we also had a different team; now we have a few different players,” the Pakistan skipper explained.
Matthew Hayden, Vernon Philander have been added to the Pakistan coaching staff for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the UAE. Pakistan will take on arch-rivals India in their opening encounter on October 24 in Dubai.